What is Ganesh Chaturthi ?
Ganesh Chaturthi is an auspicious festival of Hindus in India. Every year people celebrate this ten-days long. Devotees observe the celebration to honour the elephant-headed god. Lord Ganesha is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is the lord of science and arts and the deva of wisdom. He is also a symbol of good fortune, luck, prosperity. Throughout India and outside the country it has a significant influence over people. Another name of this festival is Vinayak Chaturthi, which marks the birth of him.
When is Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated ?
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi of the month of Bhadra according to Hindu calendar. Generally, it falls between August and September in the Lunar calendar. It stays ten-days, and there are lots of variation from beginning to ends.
To know when is Ganesh Chaturthi this year check All Indian Festivals Calendar.
What are the other names of Ganesh Chaturthi ?
There are Almost 108 names of Ganesh in Hindu scripture, and this festival is also known differently in different states. In Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh, people vent it as Vinayak Chaturthi. In Goa as Parab or Cravath. In Kerala, people know it as Lamboodhara Piranalu.
History of Ganesh Chaturthi
There are various stories behind the birth of Lord Ganesha, but two of them are the most important and common ones.
Lord Ganesha is the younger son of God, Shiva and Parvati. According to the first story, Parvati created him out of dirt from her body. She wanted protection in the absence of Shiva. She treated with Lord Ganesha as a guard and gave him the task of guarding her bathroom door. Once while she took a bath, in that time, Shiva returned home, and Ganesha stopped him. As he did not know who Shiva was. That made anger Shiva and he severed Ganesha’s head between the two after a tiff. When Parvati came to know about the occurrence, she became displeased. In turn, lord, Shiva promised her to get Ganesha’s life back. He sent some devas for searching a child’s head facing north. But they could not find any human child’s head which they could fix in the head of Ganesha. They could see only the head of an elephant, and Lord Shiva fixed that on the child’s body. And from then Ganesha was born.
The other famous story is that once Devas faced a problem because demons started harassing them. So they requested Shiva and Parvati to Creat Ganesha who would help them by demolishing demons. They thought Lord Ganesha could be a Vighnaharta(destroyer of obstacles) for rakshas (demons). Thus as an avatar of obstacles ( Vighnaharta) and helping devas Siva and Parvati created Ganesha.
Importance Of Ganesh Chaturthi
People believe that by praying Ganesha, they will able to fulfil their wishes and desires. So the main purport of Ganesh Chaturthi is that devotees pray to him for being free from sins. And it leads them on the path of wisdom and knowledge.
Historically, since the time of King Shivaji, this festival has been celebrated. Lokmanya Tilak struggled for making Chaturthi from a private celebration to a grand festival. From then people of all classes and castes of the society can come together. They can enjoy the festival by praying and making them in one unit.
For a long time, people have started celebrating this with a growing environmental awareness where there is a way to be friendly with each other as people observe it in an environmental scheme. Hence, they start making Ganesha idol with mitti(natural clay) and using flower and only essential items for decorating it.
Rituals of Ganesh Chaturthi
During the ten-day long festival, there are four main rituals. They are namely
- Ganpati Visarjan
The excitement of the festival starts in weeks before the actual beginning time of it. Artisans begin the preparation of making the idols of Ganesha with clay. They differ the statue in different poses and sizes. After decorating the god beautifully, people establish it at homes, temples or localities. At home and outside they arrange Flowers, garlands and lights to adorn the idol. Here people observe Pranapratishhtha. A priest chants mantra(holy words) to invoke life in the deity.
Then they offer prayers to the idol of Lord Ganesha. There are sixteen different ways of offering prayers. Shhodashopachara is the name of this Ritual. To celebrate the festival people start singing(especially religious songs), dancing to the drum beats. They also make a firework which enlightens up the mood of the festival.
The next Ritual is Uttarpuja, Which is about bidding farewell to Lord Ganesha. With deep respect, Ganpati Visarjan follows this. It is the time when the statue is ready to immerse in water. While carrying the idol and engaging it, devotees chant in the Marathi language “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” That means ‘Goodbye Lord, please come back next year’.
There are two kinds of devotees of the festival. One who celebrate this at home and others pay a visit to Lord Ganesha at public pandals. People with due respect offer their prayer towards Lord Ganesha. Friends and families come together, and they spend a splendid time with each other.
People celebrate the festival by having a cup of milk or curds each morning. Panchamrut is one kind of Prasad which must-have for this Indian Ritual. There are some others recipes of Ganesh Chaturthi, and they are Puran Poli, karanji, basundi, shrikhand, shankarpali, modak, laddu, halwa, Kaju kothimbir Vadi, varan Bhaat, pathology, Amati etc.
Where does Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated ?
It is a festival which people celebrate throughout the state of Maharashtra. But it’s origin is attached as a public festival in the city of Pune more than 125 years ago. Ganesh Chaturthi has spread to the other states including Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh. In Mumbai states, it becomes an auspicious festival for the devotees. The people of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Odisha also observe the festival.
Through the above discussion, one thing is clear that Ganesh Chaturthi is an important and prominent festival of India. By having fun and respect devotees observe it. The festival has a great variety from start to end during ten-days long.